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Laughing Spaniard, other forms of digital humour greet news of PKR-Umno talks

Digital humour looks here to stay, and may feature in the run-up to the next general election.

2 minute read

Juan Joya Borja, a Spanish comedian whose laughter during a talk show in 2007 has been replicated by activists around the world in satire videos, has surfaced again in Malaysia, this time in meme videos on PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim.

Barely an hour after the veteran politician wrapped up his press conference in Petaling Jaya yesterday, a 16-second clip began making the rounds on social media to poke fun at the PKR chief.

It contains an excerpt of Anwar’s statement, in which he said he had “adequate numbers” to form the government, and ends with Juan’s now-famous clip of uncontrollable laughter.

Malay subtitles reading: “Thought it was ‘strong, convincing and formidable’ numbers. Now it is ‘adequate numbers'” run through Juan’s footage.

The video is one of several being shared online, reminiscent of similar posts six months ago which followed Anwar’s stunning announcement that he had the majority to topple Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

Anwar’s statement last September that he had “strong, convincing and formidable” numbers in Parliament was then mocked by his critics through videos and graphics.

Yesterday, a reporter asked Anwar if he still had the numbers, to which the PKR leader replied that he had “adequate numbers”.

Anwar had called for the press conference to state that his party’s MPs had assured him of their commitment, following a string of defections which saw three PKR MPs switching sides in the last two months.

It was also to explain his recent admission that PKR had entered into negotiations with Umno for a possible alliance.

But even before yesterday’s press conference, social media users and political discussion groups had been abuzz with humourous takes on such an alliance.

One video shows DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng singing the Umno party anthem “Bersatu, Bersetia, Berkhidmat”, while another graphic brings together Umno’s keris symbol, PKR’s eye and DAP’s rocket signs.

For social critic Hishamuddin Rais, the trend of digital humour by Malaysians will be the hallmark of the next general election campaign.

He also said that it would serve as a more effective propaganda tool.

“This coming 15th general election campaign will be aimed at the internet generation,” Hishammuddin, a former student leader who lived a life of exile outside the country, told MalaysiaNow.

“Digital humour is coming up, new humour is developing as the result of the internet of things.”

But Hishamuddin, who also writes a blog lampooning politicians he dislikes, said the basic rules of humour were still the same.

“Humour will work if the character that is being lampooned is known to everybody.

“And humour works very well if the one that has been lampooned is the authority or the powerful.”

He also makes his case for digital humour, saying it is more effective than the traditional ceramah.

“In terms of propaganda, humour is much more formidable and convincing,” he quipped.

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